Why is David Sal Silva Dead?
Killed on a sidewalk, across the street from Kern Medical Center
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer
My head is pounding as I write these words. Recently, just a few hours ago, I became aware of a death that occurred in Bakersfield, in Kern County, California. A thirty-three year old man, lying on the sidewalk, came to the attention of a guard. The man lay on the sidewalk, yards away from Kern County Medical Center. Police were called.
Published on LatinoLA: May 16, 2013
The guard did not step over to investigate. A call to the police simply stated the man "might have been intoxicated." One can think of so many other factors. Perhaps the man had been seeking medical help, and collapsed on his way to the hospital. Perhaps the man had received horrible news and, en route to the hospital, simply fell to the ground in grief. Perhaps the man had been victimized, there, in front of the hospital. All of these are possible scenarios.
What we do know is that two ladies, a mother and a daughter, walked out of the hospital after visiting a friend. It is then that their attention was drawn to the man on the sidewalk. That man was David Sal Silva. I speak of him in the past tense, as Mr. Silva is dead. And I want to know why he died. Why he had to die, especially in the manner in which he did.
Mr. Silva's grieving brother says, "My brother spent the last eight minutes of his life, begging for his life." One of the lady onlookers says she cannot erase Mr. Silva's screams for help from her mind. She says she could hear him, choking on his own blood. She counted the number of people assaulting Mr. Silva. She counted from one through eight, and she counted them out loud, to a 911 dispatcher. This lady reported how they were dressed.
They were Kern County Deputy Sheriffs.
These eight people were sent out, ostensibly to check on the well being of the man who lay on the sidewalk. They were sent out to check on the man we now know as Mr. David Sal Silva.
The Kern County Sheriff's Office has requested that the family and the community remain "patient" as their investigation is conducted. And, while calling for "patience", they have yet to have the coroner release Mr. Silva's remains to the grieving family. This incident occurred a week ago yesterday.
In the Kern County Sheriffs' calls for "patience", they tracked down the two women who had witnessed the incident. For, you see, the younger woman who called 911 stated clearly that she had seen the entire incident and was VIDEOTAPING IT. She told the dispatcher she was going to the "news" with it. It appears the other woman videotaped it, as well. The older woman is the younger woman's mother.
In the audiotape of the 911 call, the younger woman is asked to provide her name, as well as her phone number. She is told that a supervisor, then a commander, will call her.
Not only was the younger woman called, when she got home from picking up some food, individuals identifying themselves as "detectives" got to her home. It was there that the younger woman, her boyfriend and a nine year old child were held until one of the phones was turned over to those individuals. The boyfriend protested, saying that they had no right to take the phone. There was no search warrant. Ultimately, the boyfriend, fearing he would be late to his own job, said he had to leave and it was then that the phone was turned over. Albeit, not willingly.
Some time after that, the mother's phone was taken. It is the Kern County Sheriff's position that those phones were evidence and necessary for the investigation of the incident. One of those women states that the videotape is now missing from her phone. And it was there when the police took it. What is left, being shown on the Internet, is a grainy, hard to visualize videotape.
It is asserted by the Kern County Sheriff's Office that the remains of Mr. Silva have not been released, as toxicological and pathology screenings have not yet returned. Do they plan to keep Mr. Silva's remains indefinitely? Do they plan to keep the grieving family from seeing his body, from any religious proceedings they may want to have, to keep them from realizing that, yes, indeed, it is their David Sal Silva who is now dead?
Mr. Sal Silva, the decedent's father, is hoping against hope that when he does see the body, it will not be that of his son. How inhumane and heartless and soulless it is, to keep a poor older man in such Limbo. Hoping for a miracle. Dreading the reality.
Having been acquainted (to my own misfortune) with autopsies, photographs are taken during the entire proceeding. An audiorecording is made of the observations during the autopsy. Slides of tissue are taken for analysis. Blood is drawn in order to run toxicological tests. That blood can be run for almost any chemical compound present in the body at the time of death.
Given the import of this case, it would be my opinion that videotape was taken of the entire autopsy. And, you, Mi Gente, having watched the news, know as well as I that toxicology reports do not return in an instant. Some results are available sooner than others. But some take weeks.
Is the Kern County Sheriff's Office going to retain Mr. David Sal Silva's body until they damn well feel like they are "done with him?" Until his body can shed no additional light on what happened that night?
One of the neighbors who was awakened by the melee outside, that is, the sound of a man calling out for help as he lay on the sidewalk, said he could hear the Sheriff's batons striking the man's head. As that man lay, begging for help, choking on his own blood.
Some may ask, why did no one intervene? Why did no one help? I, myself, wonder, what would or could I have done? I do know that if those women had stepped in to stop this intolerable activity, they, too would have been injured, arrested for obstruction of "justice", or worse. They did what they could. But how does one ask law enforcement for help, when it is law enforcement that appears to be committing the crime?
It was reported that after the batons stopped raining their hail of pain on Mr. Silva, he was hogtied. In other words, his hands were cuffed behind his back. His feet were tied behind his knees. Mr. Silva was then picked up, asked, "Are you still with us?", dropped twice and finally taken away.
I saw a picture of Mr. Silva today. I looked at it for a long, long time. I saw him, in better, brighter times, no bruises, no skull bashed in, no blood dried all over him. He appeared to be kneeling, just about at the level of three little girls. They all held each other and looked into the camera. They were together, happy, and looking into the future. A future that came to a horrendous end for them all.
I have worked with law enforcement agencies my entire legal career. And there are many kind, valiant and professional police officers.
May God have mercy on us.
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer:
A Latina Who Seeks Answers ... An Attorney in the City of the Angels